In a nutshell: Audi A3
- Facelifted Audi A3 gains a stronger footing in the premium compact class.
- Subtle style tweaks, more efficient engines, and increased comfort boost the A3’s huge popularity.
- Technik, Sport, S line, Edition 1 and Vorsprung specifications available with the Sportback.
- Standard equipment includes a 10.25-inch virtual cockpit, Audi smartphone interface, an integrated 10.1-inch touch display with MMI Navigation Plus and Audi connect services plus.
- Priced from £24,900 OTR, and deliveries being made now.
When you know you’re on to a winner, you don’t feel the need to change things radically.
There were subtle, and impressive, improvements rather than complete overhauls.
And with a car as popular and capable as the A3, it’d be madness to go back to the drawing board.
The A3 is the forerunner in the race for the ‘premium compact’ crown, with the Volkswagen Golf forever nipping at its heels.
The latest Mk8 Golf starts at 23,300, the A3 at £24,900, so while they’re certainly in the same ball-park you might say the Audi is a cut above in the premium stakes.
Meanwhile the latest A3 boasts all the tech you’d expect - with plug-in hybrid power slated for later in the year.
There’s five levels of trim with the sportback - Technik, Sport, S line, Edition 1 and Vorsprung - but just four with the saloon, Audi doing away with the base ‘Technik’ option.
The exterior has been designed with new concave flanks and more flared arches in order to accentuate its ‘athletic stance’, according to Audi, as do heavily slanting C-pillars above the rear wheels on the sportback.
At the front there’s a wide, hexagonal singleframe with a honeycomb grille.
Top-end Edition 1 and flagship Vorsprung versions gained matrix LED headlights for 2020.
And there are significant revisions inside, too.
There’s now a 10.1-inch touch display for the infotainment system as standard, which is also inclined slightly toward the driver. There’s also a newly developed control unit for climate control located below.
The A3 also comes with a 10.25-inch virtual cockpit as standard, which is operated via the multifunction steering wheel. Move up to Vorsprung - priced from £36,340 - and you get a head-up display that makes the image appear as if it’s floating at a distance of around two metres in front of the driver.
The infotainment system itself is new - Audi’s ‘MIB 3’ unit - which handles things like connectivity, Wi Fi hotspot, sat nav, DAB radio and media player. Voice control is also on board as standard.
At present you can have the A3 with a choice of two petrol engines and two diesel engines. The petrol range comprises a 1.0 litre ‘30 TFSI’ with 110 PS to play with, or a 1.5 litre ‘35 TFSI’ with 150 PS on tap.
Go with the diesel option - both versions use a 2.0 litre turbo powered mill - and you get either 116 PS or 150 PS.
There will, though, be a second version of the 1.5 TFSI with a mild hybrid system (MHEV), as Audi looks to continue its ‘electrification strategy’.
With the planned MHEV, a belt alternator starter (BAS) feeds a 48-volt electrical system that integrates a compact lithium-ion battery.
Audi explains: “When decelerating or during slight brake applications, the BAS can recuperate up to 12 kW of power and feed it to the energy storage unit. When driving off and accelerating from a low rotational speed, it assists the TFSI with up to 9 kW and 50 Nm (36.9 lb-ft) of torque. With the MHEV system, the A3 Sportback can glide with its engine deactivated for up to 40 seconds. The advantage in terms of consumption is up to 0.4 liters per 100 km.”
Audi has also tweaked the A3’s suspension to include wheel-selective torque control, while the power steering features speed-dependent steering assist as standard to make sure everything remains as tight and precise as you’d expect from an Audi.
Meanwhile the driver assist systems fitted as standard to even the base models are impressive to say the least.
That includes cruise control, rear parking sensors, hill-hold assist, Audi’s ‘pre sense front’ - which uses a radar to scan the area in front of the car to warn about potential hazards, and can even apply the brakes in an emergency - as well as collision avoidance assistant and lane departure warning.
All in all, it’s a highly tempting package.
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